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Finding freedom in 2023

As the year dwindles down, we all start reflecting on the past year and planning for the one that lies ahead. 2022 inspired a lot of change in my life and opened my eyes to so much.

I owe the majority of that to Montana. My family has always traveled to the beach for vacations. We never really went to National Parks or anything like that. Vacation for us was always an opportunity to escape and do nothing. This year, I had the opportunity to go to Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park with my boyfriend’s family and it changed everything for me.

There are so many amazing places in the world and now I want to see them all. There’s something about seeing the mountains and national landmarks in real life that is just unbelievable. For weeks after, I honestly felt mildly depressed. I no longer wanted the normal life I had worked for. I wanted to be able to go explore and really experience what the world has to offer. I began to resent everything I was doing with my life.

I decided that I needed to find a remote job as soon as possible. This was something I have thought about before but now I had a taste of that life and refused to settle for less. In addition to wanting to see the world, I also don’t know where I want to live long term. I love Pittsburgh but I want to have the chance to see if another place is a better fit.

Unfortunately for me, Montana enlightened me during one of the worst times to try and find a job. Every time I logged on to LinkedIn, there were more and more companies doing massive layoffs. Finding a remote role can be hard enough because there are still many employers who don’t see the benefit of offering remote positions and there are many employees who take advantage of their remote opportunities. Now I’m also going up against an additional wave of applicants from big companies like Meta, Thumbtack, Amazon, and Microsoft.

I’ve gone through many waves of motivation and discouragement. I started to feel imposter syndrome pretty bad and wondered if I was even really good at what I do or not. Luckily, I’ve got a really strong support system backing me up and reminding me to dismiss these thoughts. They don’t do anything to help me. I began working on certifications, being more active on LinkedIn, and taking courses online through Coursera.

I haven’t received any job offers yet but I have noticed myself changing. I’m being more cognizant of the verbiage I use in interviews and am more confident when answering technical questions. I know that if I’m given the opportunity to do any role, I will be successful but it’s important that I make the hiring manager see that as well. I know that I’m taking the right steps to securing my next position and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.

2022 also opened my eyes to the value of financial literacy. I began reading books, listening to podcasts, and going down all the rabbit holes I could go down to gain as much knowledge as I could. Making more money is great but it means nothing if you’re not being smart with your money. Too many of us fall victim to spending more money when we make more so we live in a constant cycle of debt and live paycheck to paycheck.

During the Covid shutdowns, I began investing in the stock market and opened up a Roth IRA with Stash. I wasn’t putting a ton of money towards either but I made sure to contribute something to Stash every month and would invest when I had extra money. Moving forward, one of my goals for 2023 is to try and max out my Roth IRA in 2023. It’s going to take some work but I want to be able to retire comfortably and I know that this will help.

I also want to find a way to bring in passive income. While reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad I’ve really latched on to the concept of making my money work for me and not just working for money. I don’t want to be in the same cycle the majority of people find themselves in because I don’t want the same life. I need to find a way to make my money work for me so I can do all of the things I want to do in life.

These concepts also inspired me to start writing again. I’ve always had a passion for it and I love having an outlet for my thoughts. I also know that there are a lot of people out there just like me who are struggling with the same things. Maybe sharing my journey will be able to help others and create a community of badass people chasing their dreams. Maybe no one will read this and I’ll just have a digital journal. Either way, I’m staying hungry for my goals.

Here’s to finding freedom in 2023.

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